Anxiety over proposed Edo council poll as APC, PDP, aspirants kick against imposition, guidelines
Crisis is brewing in the Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC) following the alleged barring of former council chairmen, councillors and ex- political office holders from contesting the local council election scheduled for March 3rd.
APC state chairman, Anslem Ojezua while reacting to the issue said, “our constitution allows us to determine issues by consensus and leaders agree by consensus on those they want to contest.”
Ojezua who insisted that the APC will hold its primaries said all the aspirants must go through screening adding that the issue of its party guidelines to aspirants as stipulated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must be adhered to.
But the Edo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Dan Orbih as threatened to commence legal action against the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) over what he described as undemocratic and unconstitutional election guidelines release for the conduct of the State Local Government Election scheduled March 3rd, 2018.
The PDP Chairman said the issues for determination is as follows as the Edo State House of Assembly cannot validly amend the Edo State Local Government Electoral Law to abridge the length of notice of poll stated in section 30(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) having regard to paragraphs 11 and 12 or part 2 of the second schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
He added that no valid Local Government Election can be conducted in Edo State without giving the Claimant and other stakeholders the mandatory 90 days’ notice of poll stated in section 30(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
Orbih said the amendment to the Local Government Electoral Law made by the Edo State House of Assembly on 12th December, 2017 was done in violation of the mandatory provisions of the Rules of the Edo State House of Assembly on law making process in the House and Section 100(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
In Oredo Local Government Council Aspirants who have indicated interest so far include Mr. Sam Atoe, Mark Idah, Tom Obaseki, Gabriel Idusuyi and Osaro Obaze who is the immediate past chairman of the council another political heavy weight to watch out for in Oredo.
However, among the aspirants, only two seems to have the pedigree and the political experience to wither the storm. They are Mark Idah who has been neck deep in the politics of the state. He is also close to the power that be at the state level of the party as he is believed to enjoy the support of his brother, Mr. Osaro Idah, the special adviser to the governor on political matters and community relations.
But, political watchers in the state believed that, it is too early to predict who gets the plumb job as it is widely believed that the real masquerades are yet to come out fully.
The likes of Tom Obaseki who is said to be the younger brother of the Governor might spring surprises if he leveraged on his closeness to the Governor.
In Egor Local Council, grassroots politicians are already at work, jostling for tickets to contest the election in the eighteen local government areas of the state as the election is expected to cover both the Chairmanship and Councillorship positions.
The Professor Stanley Orobator’s led Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) has released guidelines for the conduct of the election and the lobbying by aspirants to emerge as candidates after the party primaries has started.
While all registered political parties are expected to field candidates in all the positions, it is no gainsaying the fact that the battle for the Chairmanship and Councillorship positions is between the two rival political parties in the state, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
EDSIEC has promised a level playing ground for all candidates, irrespective of party affiliations, while the dynamic state governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki has also set machinery in motion to ensure a transparent and credible local government election that will be fair to all and move democracy to a higher level not only in the state, but in the country at large.
Thus, the political arena is already heated up as the aspirants move around to meet with party members in their constituencies and party leaders to sell themselves in order to clinch tickets for the March 3 local government election.
As the probables and possibles go about their secret lobbying in the eighteen local government areas of Edo State, The Guardian takes a look at Egor local government Council, one of the competitive local government areas in the Urban centre in Benin City, coming after Oredo local government, whose Headquarters, Benin City, also serves as the Edo State capital.
So far, major contenders for the coveted chairmanship position for Egor local government council include immediate past Chairman of the Council Hon. Victor Osayande Enobakhare, Mr. Joshua Uwagboe, immediate past Secretary of the Council, Comrade Stewart Efe, a journalist and founding member of the Advance Congress of Democrats (ACD), Action Congress (AC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and All Progressives Congress (APC) in Egor local government area and Eghe Ogbemudia, daughter of two-time Governor, late Dr. (Brig. Gen.) Samuel Ogbemudia among others.
Investigation so far, revealed that about 14 aspirants are jostling for the chairmanship position, cutting across the ten wards in Egor local government area and prominent among them is Comrade Efe Stewart a social worker, crusader, Publisher, Public Relations Practitioner and notable politician who has contributed to the growth of Egor politics and that of Edo State in general.
Since 2006, he has remained committed to the ACD, AC, ACN and now APC; and unwavering in his pursuit of the ideas and ideals of the ruling APC in the state. A dogged fighter who remained undaunted, despite the humiliation in the struggle to enthrone good governance and true democracy in the state and Nigeria at large, as championed by the current APC government at the state and federal levels.
He is yet to be tested in an elective position. He is a very popular candidate that is generous and carries everybody in his Ward 9 and the entire local government area along in all his political and other human endeavours.
The young, intelligent and dynamic unwavering politician and goal getter is seeking nomination to bear the flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 3, 2018 local government election in Edo State.
Meanwhile, a journalist and Chairman of the Edo State Football Association, Mr. Frank Ilaboya, has also submitted his expression of interest form to run for chairmanship position in Owan West Local Government Council under the All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to him, the revival of sporting activities at the local level is one of the reasons is going for the chairmanship position.
Ilaboya said, “I want to bring unity, which is very key; when you have unity, everything can work. I also want to bring progressive development.
“I am a sports person, so we will make Owan West a sports hub because we want to ensure that the talents of the youth are well harnessed. Do not forget that in those days, sports made Edo State thick and that is my primary area.”